DESIGN INFLUENCES ON MY WORK
Elegant simplicity. Cleverness of design. Functionality. Celebration of natural materials. Appreciation of simple gifts. Exquisite craftsmanship. What could be better?
Asian design, especially from Japan and from the Ming dynasty of China (roughly 1350 to 1650 CE, the golden age of Chinese furniture), has many qualities in common with Shaker design.
Arts and Crafts
The version of Arts and Crafts design I like best is that of the architecture and furniture of the Greene Brothers (Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene), whose major works were done in California shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Among their most famous houses are the Blacker House (1907) and the Gamble House (1908). The interiors of these and other of their houses feature the sumptuous beauty of wood and sometimes, happily, Charles’s carvings. The Greene brothers' fondness for Japanese and Chinese design makes their work more subtle and “lighter” than that of the East Coast (Stickley) version of Arts and Crafts design.
Sam Maloof, the great 20th century designer and maker of rocking chairs, employed elements of Danish Modern design in everything he made, but most famously in his chairs. My chairs owe a lot to him.
All of these design styles emphasize elegant simplicity, the beauty of wood, functionality, and comfort. For what it’s worth, my unsophisticated concept of “Beauty” has to do with its connection to things we see, feel, touch, hear, smell, and taste in nature. The design styles I admire manifest this connection to the natural world.